Drafting the Circuits
Formula 1 Report
Canadian Grand Prix
By Steve Aibel
Lewis Hamilton reestablished his dominance in the Formula 1 Driver’s Championship with a cool and collected drive for his fourth Canadian Grand Prix victory. His 37th overall Formula 1 win seemed in hand throughout the race as an expected push from second place finisher Nico Rosberg never materialized.
Hamilton had Rosberg covered fully and the only threat he had was some concern over fuel consumption. With 10 laps to go and Rosberg within 1.5 seconds, Hamilton pressed his advantage and never allowed Rosberg to mount the expected attack. Hamilton extended his lead to finish 2.285 seconds ahead of Rosberg and extended his championship lead to 17 points.
Valtteri Bottas secured Williams’ first podium of the year. With a steady drive, Bottas completed an all Mercedes powered podium, showcasing the strength that we expect to see over the course of the summer from the Mercedes powered entries. Bottas grabbed the podium position after Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen spun on a new set of tires in the turn 10 hairpin.
Felipe Massa finished in 6th position after starting deep in the field from 15th. Massa drove a strong race showing that on the high-speed, low downforce tracks, Williams is still a car that will have an impact on the sharp end of the field.
Raikkonen again failed to maximize his race, which must be frustrating to the results oriented team principal Maurizio Arrivabene. After starting 3rd on the grid, he was easily managing 3rd place until lap 28 when he lost his Ferrari in the hairpin. Raikkonen reasoned that this was a mapping problem and the hybrid system initiated power unexpectedly. He suggested that this was an issue with the mapping on the out lap after pit stops. A similar problem happened to him twice last year in the same corner. Raikkonen recovered to finish in 4th position, just ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel has an outstanding run but was hampered by his initial starting position of 18th. Vettel did not make it out of Q1 when his energy recovery system failed to produce the necessary power to run competitive times. Vettel also suffered from a grid penalty for passing Manor’s Roberto Merhi under red flag conditions in practice.
Starting 18th, Vettel had a magnificent drive, which could be a good sign of an increase in pace from the Ferrari engine upgrade. Ferrari utilized three engine tokens, which are intended to close the gap between the Scuderia and the front running Mercedes. With the Red Bull Ring, Silverstone, and Spa ahead on the summer calendar, it will be interesting to see how Ferrari and Williams impact the championship across the summer months.
Lotus continues to improve the pace on the E-23 with both Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean securing points for the Enstone contenders. Maldonado scored his first points of the season with a 7th place finish, running 53 laps on a set of Pirelli soft tires.
Meanwhile, Grosjean finished in 10th position, even with a 5 second time added penalty to his finish time, which resulted from after collision with Manor’s Will Stevens. Grosjean moved into the racing line leaving Will Stevens no space and a broken wing.
Afterwards, Stevens blasted, “If cars want to try and cut across you like this in braking zones, those types of accidents are only going to happen more.”
Stevens stated that their race results are just as important as any other team and they deserve the same respect. The stewards seemed to agree! Grosjean received a 5 second time penalty and two points on his Superlicense. To his credit, Grosjean took full responsibility for the accident and apologized!
Nico Hulkenberg, of Force India, secured 8th position and Daniil Kvyat brought his Red Bull home in 9th. Red Bull teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, brought to light the problems and frustrations in the Red Bull camp as he called the team “lost”. For Ricciardo, the ever-positive Australian, he was quoted as saying you either smile or cry with the way the current season is going. Fortunately for Ricciardo, he has chosen to roll with the many punches thrown at Red Bull this season.
Much has been made of the struggles that Red Bull are having with engine supplier Renault. Thierry Salvi, of Renault, seems to believe that the power unit reliability issues are coming under control and they will soon be focusing straight up on power. Renault have engine tokens to use which should address these issues sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, we have not seen anything that lends us to believe that Renault will be able to solve the problems that have resulted in weak, low powered engines. Only time will tell!
What has not been discussed, as frequently, in the Red Bull puzzle has been the lack of finesse from the Red Bull chassis? Adrian Newey designed Red Bull cars are renowned for their handling and superior design quality. This rendition does not possess those qualities. With Newey spending less time with the Red Bull F1 squad, it is obvious that the chassis has suffered. What has been a strength, is now simply NOT!
McLaren are also still struggling with both their chassis and a dramatically underpowered Honda engine package. After scoring points in Monaco, both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso retired from the Canadian Grand Prix with mechanical issues. From the radio dialog, it was obvious that Alonso was extremely frustrated, calling his car “amateur” and expressing his displeasure at having to manage fuel.
Button managed his frustration a bit better after missing qualifying and having to serve a drive through penalty. When his call came to retire the car, it was almost as if he seemed relieved. McLaren have a long, long way to go and the cheerleading of Ron Dennis must be wearing thin in the McLaren boardroom.
The paddock moves back to Europe for the summer with round 8 of the Championship taking place in Austria at the Red Bull Ring on June 21st. For all reasonable purpose, the Constructors Championship seems to be wrapped up for Mercedes, as it would take a monumental collapse to derail their title run.
- Lewis Hamilton 151
- Nico Rosberg 134
- Sebastian Vettel 108
- Kimi Raikkonen 72
- Valtteri Bottas 57
- Felipe Massa 47
- Daniel Ricciardo 35
- Daniil Kvyat 19
- Romain Grosjean 17
- Felipe Nasr 16
- Sergio Perez 11
- Nico Hulkenberg 10
- Carlos Sainz Jr. 9
- Max Verstappen 6
- Pastor Maldonado 6
- Marcus Ericsson 5
- Jenson Button 4
- Mercedes 285
- Ferrari 180
- Williams 104
- Red Bull 54
- Lotus 23
- Sauber 21
- Force India 21
- Toro Rosso 15
- McLaren 4
- Manor/Marussia 0